Did You Shoplift As a Kid? If You Did, What’d Your Parents Do About It?
This story about shoplifting via limo really brought back memories. No, I didn't shoplift via limo. but I DID shoplift...and it is something I'll never ever forget. Especially how mad my mom was.
First, tho, the story.
A woman was arrested after police say she took clothing items worth more than $300 from the Scheels store. Police Lt. Jim Evenson says the woman used a limousine to catch a ride from the Kahler Grand Hotel to Scheels. Evenson says as the woman was trying to leave the store, she pushed a security employee who was trying to stop her against a door and fled.
OK, let's go back to my dark, dangerous, lawless days. I was four or five. And look at the face of that kid in red shorts...does it look like the face of a criminal? No, I look sweet and innocent!
Well, behind that adorable face was indeed the mind of a thief! Lemmie break it down.
My mom and I were at a small town grocery store, the kind with just one or two checkouts, an old conveyor belt and a big ol'basket of penny candy. Like this, but with candy instead of all those awful vegetables.
Every time we went to this store, I'd ask for candy, and every time my mom would say no, we're not going to waste money. I appreciated her dedication to careful money management (six kids, only my dad's salary coming in), but c'mon...a penny? Sheesh. After disappointment week after week, I took matters into my own hands.
When we got to the checkout, I scanned left, and then I scanned right. Not too obvious, now...check one more time Li'l Jimmy. Careful...don't give them a reason to notice you. That's right, just casually looking this way, and then that way. ARGH! You looked to fast, the lady is looking at you....oh, she's smiling, good. She's none the wiser. Yep, and there's mother's look, checking to see that the clerk isn't smiling at my misbehavior. They're both looking at each other, talking about the price of peas, now...now go, quick!
My little hand snatched with lightening speed. Out it went, collecting one piece of bubble gum, then retracting. Just like clockwork. SUCCESS! Now, all I had to do was wait to chew it and I was home free. No one would have known.
But I was a little kid. I didn't wait. We were walking out of the store, my acquisition burning my hand. I unwrapped it, popped it in my mouth, and started chewing. Heaven. I was in heaven. At least until we got out of the store.
My mom checked to see I was behind her and that's when she noticed. And I realized my one...big...mistake. I should have waited until we were home to chew the gum! "Where did you get that gum!?" I was so surprised that I didn't have time to put on my game face that says, "What? Gum? What's that? Hey, how did this get into my mouth!"
The rest is foggy, but to the best of my recollection, she was horrified I'd steal something. And that made me cry. Realllly hard. Then she insisted I go back in the store, apologize, and pay for the gum. That sounded a mile too far, and I was terrified at the idea of facing the clerk. I stood in place, and cried even harder...nooooo! I'm sorrry! I won't do it again!
No pleading would work as she took my hand and led me back in the store. No Mercy Mother, that was her. She marched me right up to the front of the store and said that I had something to tell the clerk. Through sobs, hunched shoulders, and blurred vision I'm sure I mumbled I'm sorry and paid for the candy. The clerk was nice, but I was inconsolable. And my mother? She was still angry as we marched out of the store, her silence and heavy tread told me I was in for a long day of disappointment.
I don't remember when she softened, it probably was when we got home, but to me it was an eternity before she hugged me, told me she loved me, and that I had to promise to never shoplift again.